Throughout 2016 the College of Physicians and Surgeons have been working to address one of the recommendations from the Health Quality Council of Alberta’s 2013 Continuity of Care study (Recommendation #2). Starting in January 2017, physicians will have to meet new timeframes for acknowledging and responding to referral requests. If you are referred to a doctor, that doctor will have:

  • 7 days to acknowledge receipt of the request to the referring healthcare provider
  • 14 days to let the referring healthcare provider know whether they can accept the referral
  • 14 days to contact the patient to schedule an appointment or to confirm the status of the referral, if no appointment date has been determined
  • after the first appointment with the patient the consulting doctor has 30 days  to provide the referring healthcare provider with a written report

We would like to acknowledge and show our appreciation for the efforts and the progress that the CPSA has made on the recommendations from the 2013 report. The follow-up report that was released this last July broke down the recommendations into 17 actions of which only 3/17 have been fully implemented and 2/3 were completed by the CPSA. 

After seeing the comments on the recent CPSA blog post we were reminded of a talk given by the late Dr. Cy Frank, he described how people generally respond to change in three different ways: there are people who are energized, embrace it and see the need for change (he referred to this group as the “stars”); there are those who fight it; and those who fall somewhere in the middle. If said that if he went back to when he started this path in his career he would encourage the “stars”, spend more time supporting those who got it and less time trying to convince the naysayers. We will continue to encourage the people that are taking steps to do the right thing and who continue to work to improve the system.  

Our goal is significant positive improvement and we want to encourage and recognize those that have the commitment and courage to make the needed improvements for patients and their families, and the wonderful providers working with them.

Below is our letter of support for the progress that the CPSA has made on their referral standard:


Recognizing progress & encouraging positive change